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SARL Members and Alumni News

West Virginia bill requires food stamps recipients to work

Washington Examiner | Posted on March 30, 2018

Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill into law Tuesday that will require state residents to work or volunteer to receive food stamps. The requirement will begin Oct. 1 and will apply to people who use the program formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The program funds up to $192 for food a month, or $6.40 a day.To continue receiving SNAP benefits, West Virginia residents on the program between the ages of 18 to 49 will need to work or volunteer at least 20 hours a week. People with disabilities, parents with dependent children, pregnant women, and veterans will be exempt.


Oklahoma governor inks tax hikes, teacher pay raise

News OK | Posted on March 30, 2018

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has signed into law the largest teacher pay raise in the state's history and a massive package of tax hikes to pay for the plan. Flanked by educators and GOP leaders, Fallin on Thursday signed a bill to give public school teachers raises of between 15 and 18 percent, an average boost of about $6,100 a year. She also signed a bill to increase taxes on cigarettes, motor fuel, lodging and oil and gas production that would raise an estimated $450 million for lawmakers to spend.


Kansas Passes Controversial Poultry Bill

US News and World Report | Posted on March 29, 2018

Gov. Jeff Colyer has signed into law a measure aimed at luring large-scale poultry processors to set up shop in Kansas.Colyer signed the bill on Tuesday. It passed in the Senate last month and in the House March 12, the Lawrence Journal-World reported .It greatly expands the number of chickens growers can house in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) before they would be required to obtain a state environmental permit.The Kansas Department of Agriculture and other agribusiness groups strongly supported the bill, arguing it would enable Kansas farmers to produce more "value-added" meat products for consumers.


Utah passes 'free-range parenting' law, allowing kids to do some things without parental supervision

ABC News | Posted on March 28, 2018

A new law legalizing free-range parenting will soon take effect in Utah allowing children to do things alone like travelling to school.  The bill redefines "neglect" in Utah law so that kids can participate in some unsupervised activities without their parents being charged. “Kids need to wonder about the world, explore and play in it, and by doing so learn the skills of self-reliance and problem-solving they’ll need as adults," Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, a sponsor of the bill, said in a statement to ABC News. "As a society, we’ve become too hyper about ‘protecting’ kids and then end up sheltering them from the experiences that we took for granted as we were kids. I sponsored SB65 so that parents wouldn’t be punished for letting their kids experience childhood.


Virginia primes itself for a tax experiment in rural areas

The Roanoke Times | Posted on March 28, 2018

The General Assembly has passed — and sent to Gov. Ralph Northam for his signature — a bill by Del. Will Morefield, R-Tazewell (with help from state Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County) that offers a seven-year tax break to companies that locate in certain economically-distressed localities and create a certain number of jobs (the number varies depending on the investment). The list of those eligible includes much of Southwest and Southside Virginia, along with many localities along the Chesapeake Bay. The General Assembly also passed a bill by state Sen. Ben Chafin, R-Russell County, that allows localities to declare closed schools to be a “revitalization zone” whereby it can waive certain local taxes and fees. The idea is that these buildings could become incubators for small businesses. Here’s where we get the potential trifecta of tax breaks: There are some localities in Southwest Virginia (and likely elsewhere) that can qualify for all three. Imagine a locality that’s eligible for certain tax breaks under Morefield’s bill. It’s also likely eligible for certain tax breaks under the federal tax bill. And if it has an old school sitting empty, it can declare that a “revitalization zone” under Chafin’s bill — which means an entrepreneur setting up shop there could qualify for yet a third set of tax breaks.


Food Producers of Idaho gives agriculture a combined voice

Capital Press | Posted on March 28, 2018

Started in 1970 by a former farmer who went on to become governor, Food Producers of Idaho now represents more than 40 agriculture-related groups and enables them to speak to lawmakers with a combined voice. The organization — which is unlike any other in Idaho and possibly in the rest of the U.S. — represents more than 40 farm industry groups and provides them with an amplified voice in the state Capitol. In addition to representing most of the state’s major crop and livestock groups, and many of its smaller ones, FPI counts among its membership agribusinesses, agricultural lenders, irrigation groups, soil conservation districts and weed control associations.FPI membership also includes the food processing industry and several dozen individual farmers and people representing state and federal agencies. When they are in Boise, members of Idaho’s congressional delegation often attend the group’s meetings.


Judge: How Arkansas pot growers picked illegal

Arkansas On Line | Posted on March 28, 2018

A Pulaski County circuit judge Wednesday declared unconstitutional Arkansas' process for licensing the first medical-marijuana growers, citing the appearance of bias and of failure to verify applicants' compliance with key requirements. In a 28-page decision, Judge Wendell Griffen issued a preliminary injunction barring the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission from issuing five cannabis-growing licenses. The injunction is a continuance of a temporary restraining order Griffen issued a week ago, just hours before the commission planned to formally award the licenses to five companies.Wednesday's order, however, went a step further, declaring the commission's rankings of the 95 growing license applications "null and void."


Bill in Rhode Island would revise criteria for service pets

turnt to 10 | Posted on March 28, 2018

hile there is a fee, and the education takes time, Vanaudenhover said it’s necessary. Legislation introduced in Rhode Island, addresses service pets in particular that prohibit pet owners from impersonating the disabled with a fine up to $500 and 30 hours of community service.However, the improper practice of people pretending that their pets are service dogs also has implications for the pet therapy world, as well as the emotional support pet world.For example, a doctor's note is all that's currently needed for someone to say they need their pet for emotional support, muddying the waters for access to restaurants, shops, or even public travel.


Bayer launches Care4Cattle grant program

Meat + Poultry | Posted on March 26, 2018

Bayer AG announced a new initiative called Care4Cattle, a grant program intended to help livestock professionals advance the well-being of dairy and beef cattle. Farmers, veterinarians, researchers and graduate students in veterinary medicine or animal science are invited to submit their ideas to the Care4Cattle program. Bayer said projects should demonstrate innovative, practice-oriented ways to improve cattle well-being on the farm level. Projects will be judged based on innovative approach; impact on cattle welfare; added value to farming operations; relevance and feasibility; and economic viability.


State officials let mega-dairy use loophole to tap endangered Oregon aquifer

Idaho Statesman Journal | Posted on March 26, 2018

A year after it opened, Oregon’s second-largest dairy has not secured rights to the nearly 1 million gallons of water per day it needs for its thousands of cows and to process milk. Instead, Lost Valley Farm near Boardman moved ahead without the necessary permits, using a loophole in Oregon law to pull water out of an underground aquifer that’s been off limits to new wells for 42 years, alarming neighboring farmers who say their water supplies are now at risk.Documents obtained by the Statesman Journal show Gov. Kate Brown, her staff and the directors of three state agencies knew the dairy would fall back on the loophole if a proposed water trade was challenged.But with dairy owner Greg te Velde rushing to meet a deadline to receive bank financing and move his 8,000 cows — and with the promise of 150 jobs for rural Morrow County — state officials allowed the dairy to open anyway. In 2016, the dairy drilled three wells into the already-dwindling aquifer without telling the state, as required by law, and refused to register them for months after state officials found out.


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